No. 33 and beyond: A Day Two draft primer

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No. 33 and beyond: A Day Two draft primer

By Adam Hart
CSNNE.com

"Can we ever pick a player, Belichick?"

That's an actual, censored text message received Thursday night during the NFL Draft. The Patriots had in fact picked a player -- beanstalk-dweller Nate Solder -- at No. 17 overall, but they also traded out of the 28th spot.

That deal brings added appeal to Day Two with the Patriots receiving No. 56 overall from the Saints to go along with Nos. 33 and 60 -- all second-round picks. So, yes, he will pick a player; probably going to be an active trader, as well.

And, as Bill Belichick told the media, the interest in Day Two's top selection is already hot.

Welcome to the trading post
A first-round run on quarterbacks has not quelled the need among every team interested in a signal-caller. The Bills (34), Bengals (35), Redskins (41, 49), and Raiders (48) might have their eyes on particular passers. Colin Kaepernick, Andy Dalton, Ryan Mallett and Ricky Stanzi figure to be second-round targets. The Bills and Bengals can have their pick of the litter, unless Washington or Oakland trades up into New England's spot.

The haul from a deal for the 33rd pick could set up another stacked draft board in 2012; the Patriots currently have two first-round picks next year, acquiring New Orleans' on Day One. The team has until 6 p.m. to value the trade bids against actually drafting a player. And, yes, trading out will spawn more of those text messages. Delightful.

Target practice
No matter how it unfolds at No. 33, the Patriots can add impact players in the second round. Expect the team to somehow move into the coveted 40-50 range. Some names to watch:

Runnings Back:

Ryan Williams - Was flossing an eyebrow ring on stage at the Draft, but that's not something for which he should be judged. He touts good vision and a certain slipperiness, but battled a hamstring injury in 2010.
Kendall Hunter - A smaller guy, but he runs like a firecracker.

Receiver:

Randall Cobb - A do-it-all type of guy who ran for, threw and caught touchdowns at Kentucky. Has a workmanlike attitude which would seemingly fit into the team-first mantra in Foxborough. A special athlete, he's spent time at receiver, unlike 2009 seventh-round pick Julian Edelman.

Torrey Smith - His gait is reminiscent of Randy Moss. His hands? They're decent.

Offensive Line:

There is still a need here because there's no guarantee Logan Mankins will return and Stephen Neal retired. Dan Connolly is penciled in, but some depth would be nice.

John Moffitt - Can play guard or center. Plays with a mean streak, but told Tom E. Curran he needs to improve his pass blocking.

Clint Boling - A guard in the NFL, he would be.
Outside Linebacker:

Allen Bailey - Belichick watched film with Bailey and his teammates at Miami. He's "country strong," but it doesn't always translate to the field. Played linebacker a bit at Miami, but has said he prefers defensive end. Could he play that Willie McGinest-type role? Maybe.

Chris Carter - Played at Fresno State, trained with McGinest, but is relatively little. He puts in the hard work to improve his game and excels at rushing the passer. If the coaching staff wants a player who can corral Mark Sanchez on third down, Carter might be the pick.

Akeem Ayers - Played across UCLA's linebacker corps, but tended to arrive on the tail end of plays. Still, there are some who are smitten over his athleticism.

Defensive Line:

Drake Nevis - He would fit in that Jarvis Green role, playing along the line on third down. Nevis has excellent burst off the snap and can knife into the backfield, but is not considered suitable for the base 3-4.

Defensive Back:

Ras-I Dowling - An injury-plagued season caused his stock to drop. He is a great tackler for a cornerback, and perhaps could be aided by a move to safety in the NFL.

There, that should cover all 32 picks in the second round.

Belichick convinces UDFA to sign, tells him to be in shape

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Belichick convinces UDFA to sign, tells him to be in shape

The moments following the final round of the NFL draft are always a whirlwind because the work done by those in their respective war rooms isn't finished. Every year, coaches and personnel staffers work their phones calling undrafted free-agents in order to round out their rosters with passed-over talent.

Arizona State receiver and running back D.J. Foster was one of those fielding calls on Saturday, giving his cell battery a workout. The Cardinals, Texans and Patriots all came calling, and he was leaning toward what he considered his hometown team in Arizona.

Then the Patriots deployed their top recruiting weapon: coach Bill Belichick.

You can watch Foster's draft day ordeal here with this video put together by 12News.com in Phoenix.

When he's made his decision he gets a call from one team employee telling him how "fired up" they are to have him on board. Then Belichick calls again, his mission accomplished, to first congratulate Foster and then order him to be in shape for rookie minicamp.

Foster was barely in elementary school when Belichick and Tom Brady helped the Patriots win their  first Super Bowl. Ever since, they've been one of the most consistently successful teams in football.

That track record couldn't have hurt Foster in his decision-making process, but it seems as though he was proposed the best financial deal by the Patriots. They're also a team that won't be afraid to try players at multiple positions. The fact that Foster considers himself both a running back and a receiver could be seen as beneficial in regards to him making the team. Being labeled a "'tweener" isn't always a detriment.

In the Patriots offense, there is room for a player with Foster's skill set. Perhaps he will work alongside Dion Lewis and James White as a "sub back," who specializes in the passing game and poses a threat either lined up in the backfield or out wide like a receiver. The other option would be for Foster to serve as a full-time receiver -- something he focused on last season -- who might be best suited for the slot. As an undrafted rookie, he'll also likely be expected to contribute in the kicking game in some way shape or form.

Patriots named Super Bowl LI favorites despite Brady suspension

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Patriots named Super Bowl LI favorites despite Brady suspension

Is the Patriots roster so loaded that Tom Brady can be suspended for four games, and they're still the favorites to win it all? 

Apparently so, according to odds released by the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Not long after the completion of this year's draft, the Patriots were favored at 6-1 to win their fifth Lombardi Trophy even though their quarterback is scheduled to miss the first month of the season after his Deflategate punishment was recently reinstated by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Brady plans to appeal that ruling. 

Next on the list of favorites are the Seahawks, Steelers and Packers, all of whom are tied at 8-1. The Panthers, who fell in Super Bowl 50 to the Broncos, have 9-1 odds to redeem themselves after last season's defeat and walk away winners. 

The Patriots are, of course, favored to win the AFC (3-1) and the AFC East (4-9), and their season win total projection has been set at 10.5.

Felger: Is the praise for Jacoby Brissett too good to be true?

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Felger: Is the praise for Jacoby Brissett too good to be true?

Three mid-week thoughts for your perusal . . . 

-- I was 100 percent behind the drafting of quarterback Jacoby Brissett. And then I read comments about the kid from Charlie Weis and Bill Parcells in Karen Guregian's excellent story in the Boston Herald on Tuesday.

Now I'm down to about 80 percent.

"He's a Curtis Martin-, Willie McGinest-, Troy Brown-type of player,'' said Parcells. "That's the kind of guy he is. That's what New England is getting. Those kind, those Tedy Bruschi types, those players who've been successful -- he's very similar in his personal life to those kinds of guys.''

"Let me tell you,'' added Weis, "this kid, from the time he was in high school, is the Pied Piper . . . He was definitely the leader of the pack. In the quarterback position, I think that's a critical factor. And that's what he was.''

Added Parcells: "He has zero personal issues.''

So why would glowing reports cause me to like the pick less? File under: Too good to be true.

I read those quotes and get the feeling I'm being sold something, which shakes my confidence a bit. Plus, it's a little too much on the intangible element. Character is certainly important at the position. In fact, it's crucial. But if intangibles were the only thing that mattered, Tim Tebow would have been an NFL QB. And we all know how that turned out.

Bottom line: I still like the pick. I still want the Pats drafting and developing quarterbacks. I just smell a bit of bull crap.

-- Chris Mannix nailed it regarding what it would take for the Celtics to lure Kevin Durant to Boston.

"Boston's ability to lure him is going to come down to who else they can get. You can't walk into a meeting with Kevin Durant and say, 'We've got Isiah Thomas and 97 draft picks; we're going to be good in a few years','' he told Toucher and Rich Tuesday morning. "Kevin doesn't want to hear that . . . What he wants to hear is that we're ready to win now . . . They have to come to the table with a Jimmy Butler, with a Bradley Beal, with an Al Horford. They can't just come with Brad Stevens, Danny Ainge and a bunch of draft picks.''

In other words, the pieces on the current roster aren't nearly as good as they looked in the regular season. And, no, Thomas is not a franchise player. And, finally, don't get too attached to those picks, no matter where the ping pong balls land.

-- I wonder if the Bruins look at the current landscape in net across the NHL playoffs and consider how wise it is to pay their goalie, Tuukka Rask, $7 million a year.

Still alive are guys like the Islanders' Thomas Greiss ($1.5 million cap hit), the Blues' Brian Ellliott ($2.5 million), the Sharks' Martin Jones ($3 million) and Penguins rookie Matt Murray ($620,000). Out are 8 of the top 10 highest-paid goalies in the league, a list including Henri Lundqvist, Carey Price, Cory Schneider, Ryan Miller and, of course, Rask.

Please note: No one is saying you can get away with shoddy goaltending in the playoffs. It's an unassailable fact that you need elite play in net to contend for Stanley Cups. The question is what you have to pay for it. 

And in that regard, this year is no aberration. Sometimes you have to pay through the nose for it, and sometimes it just falls in your lap.

Can the Bruins get away with trying to survive in that second camp? Good question. This much I know: Paying Rask $7 million a year to miss the playoffs two straight years isn't doing anyone any good.

Email Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m. on 98.5 FM. The simulcast runs daily on CSN.